By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Artists and community members filled the Artspace City Hall Lofts Connector, 13615 Michigan Ave. for an open house July 19 where possibilities of what could fill the empty space were the topic of discussions.
The kickoff event welcomed ideas from individuals, creative businesses and cultural organizations who sought leasing space in the connector building.
Spaces in the Connector — the area that housed the city clerk and treasurer offices — will be divisible based on the need of an individual or organization in the 20,000 square feet of space inside the building that connects the former City Hall and West Annex buildings.
The space is phase three of the project with the two residential buildings where artists live completed as phase one and two over the past two years.
Mayor John O’Reilly said he was excited to see what the future holds and businesses, artists and local organizations take over the connector space.
Miles Boucher, a performing artist living in an Artspace loft, said living in the complex area has allowed him to connect with other artists, especially visual artists.
“It’s important to me to have a space where I can live, work and collaborate with a community of artists,” he said. “I’m interested to see what can be done in the connector space, especially if a collaboration between the artists takes place. I would love to be involved in that.”
Amy Libby, who creates mixed media, paintings and ceramic artwork, said she attended the open house to see what was available for a possible business opportunity.
“During my time living here I have been able to connect with other artists who have become by family, and we were talking about possibly renting out space as a group in the connector to bring our talents together,” she said.
The Connector space will be home of the “InnOVATION Station” created by Comcast through a $10,000 grant that is described as “a technology-based interactive learning and demo center,” according to a press release.
“Comcast is extremely proud that Dearborn’s own City Hall Artspace Lofts is receiving the Stand for the Arts Award,” Comcast Regional Senior Vice President in Michigan Tim Collins said in the press release. “We’re excited to collaborate with City Hall Artspace Lofts and use our industry expertise to power the InnOVATION Station to meet the technology needs of its residents.”
The Connector is also a pop-up location for the Dearborn Entrepreneur Pitch Competition that will award winners four months of free rent at a Dearborn pop-up location to grow their business.
Pitch nights for the competition will continue from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22 and Sept. 26 at West Village Commons, 22275 Michigan Ave. The final pitch night is scheduled for Nov 14.
According to the competition format and rules, “entrepreneurs and community members will have the opportunity to network, learn, and rehearse from business resources partners, and then listen to a regional panel of youth entrepreneurs with experience in running a businesses and ideating on their idea.”
For more information on the Connector space go to www.artspace.org/Dearborn.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)